Cop Acquitted on Apple Store Assault Charge

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Salvatore Provenzano, an NYPD officer who in 2021 was indicted for punching a disorderly customer at an Upper West Side Apple Store, was acquitted this week by Judge Maxwell Wiley, about a week after the trial started. The case marks a victory for the NYPD who have often accused District Attorney Alvin Bragg of having an anti-police bias.

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“Police Officer Provenzano was simply doing his job, trying to protect himself and the public from an individual who has repeatedly caused mayhem in places of business,” Patrick Hendry, President of NYC’s Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement. “We’re grateful that the court recognized that reality and acquitted him.”

Provenzano was facing potential jail time for the third-degree assault charge. The 17-year NYPD vet rejected an offer from the prosecution to knock the charges down to second-degree assault, deciding instead to take his chances at trial.

“My client’s gratified that the judge saw through this and realized this was not an assault case at all,” Provenzano’s attorney, Stu London, told the New York Post. “This was just an officer defending himself from what he thought was an aggressive action by the individual he was dealing with.”

During the Apple Store incident, Provenzano reportedly punched the disorderly customer while he and other officers attempted to restrain him. London said in his opening statement that the officer “hit him so as to not be hit.”

The Assistant DA on the case said in her opening statement that “Force is a legitimate and essential tool of policing, and officers have authority to use it. But only under certain circumstances, only in accordance with the law. … With that punch, Officer Provenzano committed a crime.”

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The Post reports that Provenzano was suspended without pay for a year following the incident, and had been stripped of his weapon and assigned to desk duty following the suspension.

“Unfortunately a lot of damage has been done,” Hendry’s statement continued. “Manhattan prosecutors need to stop wasting time and resources targeting cops over nonsense and start working with us to address real public safety issues.”

In his own statement following the acquittal, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said, “We work in close partnership with the NYPD every day, and I have immense respect for the officers in uniform. I thank our prosecutors for their hard work, and Judge Wiley for his careful and thoughtful consideration of this matter.”


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